Student Reader

Mustafa Barzani

June 24, 2009

ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Starting Sunday June 28, Alsumaria TV will present one of its major in-house production entitled: “Ostourat Al Jabal” (The Legend of the Mountain) a feature-length documentary that tackles the Kurdish issue and leader Mala Mustafa Barzani.

“Ostourat Al Jabal” is seen by its director and presenter anchor Anwar Al Hamadani as a weighty Arab production on the Kurdish issue presented both in Arabic and Kurdish.

“The documentary was prepared along six months of hard application. It includes exclusive reportages, exceptional meetings and various drama scenes as prominent historical figures were personified in acting namely Salahuddin Al Ayyubi and Sheikh Mahmoud Al Hafid”, Anwar Al Hamadani explained.

Underlining the importance of events that this documentary sheds lights on, Al Hamadani added that “Ostourat Al Jabal” addresses many unspoken question marks among Arabs about the historic relations with Kurds in the past and present. The documentary aims as well to near both parties’ points of views”, Al Hamadani stressed.

“Ostourat Al Jabal is an Alsumaria production, part of a series of in-house production documentaries. Still to come another new interesting documentary”, Al Hamadani noted.

Ostourat Al Jabal is split into six feature-length episodes followed by a live forum in which anchor Anwar Al Hamadani discusses feedback on the documentary through mails and phone calls.

“Ostourat Al Jabal” was initiated by Alsumaria Manager in Kurdistan Dr. Ali Akram and supervised by Alsumaria News Manager Amjad Askandar.

Barzani was born in 1903 in Barzan, a village in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, (then part of the Ottoman Empire), he was first imprisoned in Mosul, with his mother, when he was only three years old.
Prominent Kurdish leader Mala Mustafa Barzani, father of the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani.

Starting Sunday June 28, Alsumaria TV will present one of its major in-house production entitled: “Ostourat Al Jabal”
Early career
In 1931 and 1932, together with his older brother, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani who was a convert to Christianity, he led the Kurdish struggle for independence. In 1935, with the suppression of the Kurdish revolution, he was exiled to Sulaimaniyah, together with his brother Sheikh Ahmed Barzani. Barzani escaped from Sulaimaniyah in 1942, and started a new revolt against Baghdad, but it was once again unsuccessful. Barzani with 1,000 of his followers went to Eastern Kurdistan to help Qazi Muhammed to defend the newly founded Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.

The Republic of Mahabad
In December 1945 the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was declared by the Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan, which was under Soviet military control. Mustafa Barzani was appointed as the Minister of Defense and commander of the Kurdish army in the Republic of Mahabad.

In May 1946 the Soviet troops were withdrawn from Iran, in accordance with the Yalta Agreement, and in December Mahabad was overrun by Iranian troops. The President of the Republic of Mahabad was hanged in public in the "Çar Çira" square in Mahabad city, and many others were massacred. Mala Mustafa refused to surrender to the invading Iranian army and along with his fighters moved back to Iraq. But once again he was forced to flee when the Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian forces joined their efforts against him. Barzani with 500 of his pesh merga fought his way through Turkey and Iran to Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union, where they were disarmed and incarcerated in a prison camp before being allowed to settle in various parts of the Soviet Union.

Exile in the Soviet Union
In 1951 the peshmerga were allowed to settle in Baku. Many enrolled in schools and universities. Barzani himself went to Moscow, where he studied political science, and renewed his contacts with Kurdish diaspora and exiles.

Return to Iraq
In 1958, following the republican coup, Barzani was invited to return to Iraq by prime minister Abdul Karim Qassim. Barzani went further than Qasim had intended, and suggested full autonomy for the Kurdish regions in the north. This resulted in new clashes between the rulers of Baghdad and the Kurds. In 1961 prime minister Qasim began military campaigns against the Kurds. Barzani's Peshmergas were highly effective in fighting the invading Iraqi army during the revolution and inflicted a large casualties among Iraqi army.

In March 1970 Baghdad and the Kurdish leaders reached a peace agreement, and cease fire was declared to pave the way for negotiations to find a solution to the Kurdish question. As a goodwill the Iraqi government recognized Kurdish people and considered Kurdish language a second official language of the republic with Arabic. In the early 1970s, Barzani's son Ubaydallah defected from the Barzani tribe, and began working with the regime of Baghdad as a minister of state in 1975. Vice President Saddam Hussein, of the Baath Party, offered the Kurds an autonomy but without including Kirkuk, Mosul and other Kurdish cities, and mandated full control of Iraqi army over Kurdistan.

In March 1974 after the autonomy negotiation failed to reach a fair agreement, Mustafa Barzani led his followers into renewed fighting with the Iraqi government, this time with the support of Shah Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran and the United States. In early 1975, at an OPEC conference in Algiers, an agreement was signed between the Shah and Saddam Hussein, which ceded important Iraq rights in the contested waterway Shatt al-Arab to Iran. In return all aid to the Kurdish revolution was immediately cut off by Iran and in case of continued fighting Iran was to help Iraq to crush the Kurdish revolt. This allowed Hussein to consolidate his power in Iraq and Mustafa Barzani was forced to flee his homeland one final time. It's worthy of mentioning that while leaving Southern Kurdistan territories, he asked his driver to stop on the last point of the fictional borders between Eastern and Southern Kurdistan. He got out of his car and went on the hilltop, pointing towards Southern Kurdistan he said "Even now I do not give up Kirkuk".

Death and legacy
He went into exile in the United States, and died March 3, 1979, in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. He was buried just west of Mahabad, in Iranian Kurdistan.

In October, 1993, Barzani's remains were brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in the land he fought for.

His son, Massoud Barzani, is the current leader of the KDP and was elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region by the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2005.

The Naqshbandi and the Barzani Family
In fact if we talk about Mustafa Barzani we should mention the historical background about Naqshbandi's Tariqat. Mustafa Barzani opposite to his ancestors and his elder brother, Sheikh Ahmad. Shiek Ahmad was a dominant fighter among the Barzani family. Even Mustafa Barzani was under his command. While Mustafa barzani thought about politic Sheik Ahmand deprived him from been Naqshbandi's followers. To understand the religious conflict among the Barzani family, we need to look back to the coming Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this family. Barzan province has its specialization and it differs from other parts of the Kurdistan Region. Barzan is located in Hawler Governorate (now KRG capital). It is near to Iran and Turkey borders. This area sees as an independent region. It has no governmental offices. People here are belonging to their ancestors as a source of social life. Here in Barzan religious conflict is harder than political one because people here believe no political issues but religious one, even Massoud Barzani’s KDP has no office here. There are various view about transferring Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this area, but it has been proved that Sheik Abdulsalam first, Mustafa Barzanis ancestors, was the first Barzani’s religious leader who declare this Tariqat among Barzanis.

* Originally published in Attakhi Newspaper on June 23, 2009.

Mullah Mustafa promised us Kurds an independent country and democratic system with free election with rule of laws at least that is what the name of his KDP stand for. He betrayed us Kurds because he appointed two of his sons into the KDP polite bureau. He betrayed his own family by appointing two younger sons instead of older sons. His older son Aubad-allah Barzani was in prison with Sheik Ahmed Barzani for over thirteen years. Mullah Mustafa betrayed them for Massoud and Idris Barzani. Mullah Mustafa Barzani pushed Aubad-allah Barzani and Sheik Ottoman Barzani son of Sheik Ahmed Barzani to join Saddam Hussein with 8000 Barzani whom got executed by Saddam Hussein later on.

Idris Barzani dies mysteriously. As known publicly that Massoud Barzani was trained by Israeli Mossad (intelligence agency for the Israeli government) according to “Israel-Kurds” publications in Kurdistan. Massoud are accused of killing his own brother Idris Barzani.
The Barzani Sheiks bring the tribal Kurds under the control by the marriage of the tribal chef daughters. They done that successfully with Sherwani tribe and they tried to do that with Zebari tribes too. The Barzani Sheiks married few Zebari girls and Mullah Mustafa Barzani married daughter of Mahmood Agah Zebari by name of hamial khan before departing to Russia. Hamial khan gives birth to Massoud in Mehabad Iran before the departure of Mullah Mustafa Barzani. She returns to her father home and Massoud Barzani grow up under the teaching of trader Mahmood Agah Zebari. He learns to betray Barzani from his grandfather.

Massoud Barzani is half Zebari and Half Barzani and Mullah Mustafa knows about the animosity between Barzani and Zebari very well. In 1958 when Sheik Ahmed Barzai got out of Iraqi prison, he ordered the assassinations of Ahmed Agah Zebari the older brother of Mahmood Agah Zebari because of his support to Iraqi Governments. This assassination of Ahmed Agah Zebari put frictions between Mullah Mustafa Barzani and his older brother Sheik Ahmed Barzani plus his older sons too. Is Mullah Mustafa Barzani picked Massoud Barzani under the pressure of his wife hamial khan or he just hated Kurds and his own family? Yes Mullah Mustafa Barzani did lot of good things. But he had many fault too. He appointed younger son with half Zebari, He did not send Abraham Ahmed and Jalal Talabani to the Kurdish people court to be executed for their betrayal and crime against the Kurdish people.

Mullah Mustafa Barzani betrayal of yesterday, we Kurds and Barzani are paying for it today. We Kurds do not have research and analysis to point out the truth about those who lead us. We love leaders unconditionally that is the reasons we do not have country. Are we making the mistakes today? The Kurds should answer these questions.

First the Kurdish people should know that Massoud Barzani have the same age as mine. When I was Peshmergah, he was known to be pro-Talabani in his early age. He was fund of Talabani lie and monopolizations just like his nephew Nechirvan Idris Barzani does today.
The year was 1961 the Kurdish people revolted under the leadership of Mullah Mustafa Barzani. The First casualties were from Jaff people he was brother of Koaxai Ishmael Talin from Dukan region. Mullah Mustafa promised us Kurds an independent country and democratic system with rule of laws. He was exiled for thirteen years before coming back to Kurdistan. They wrote books about that how hard it was to be away from family and relative for thirteen long years. I am personally now exiled for thirty three years and most of the Kurds are more or less the same as mine. Thanks to Mr. Massoud Barzani and Mr. Jalal Talabani,www.ekurd.netthe entire Kurdish populations want to get out of the country.
Mullah Mustafa was very assured about himself any Kurds defected to join the Iraqi Governments or any other Governments in the regions; he called them “Homo”. That was the insult for people in the region. It is not like western society which does not make any sense. He was always calling Abraham Ahmed and Jalal Talabani a homo because they joined enemies of Kurdish people.

Mullah Mustafa inherited the leadership from his brother Sheik Ahmed Barzani, whom he inherited from Sheik Abdul Salam Barzani. The Barzani families were disciple of Mawalan Khalid Naqshbandi Sufi Sheikh from Jaff people. The Barzani Sufi Sheikh worked as the preacher of Sufi sect of Islam. The idea of Sufism brought in by Mawalan Khalid Naqshbandi from India. The Barzani Sufi Sheikh started with preaching in small village initially. The people from four large Kurdish tribes who they become their followers are joined them in Sufism. Initially they were very nice to people with their teaching and guidance. Bit by bit they took over the live of populations. They controlled the people and took away the power of tribal leaders. The largest tribe joined them were the Sherwani (Barzani) tribe. The Sherwani tribe leader was Hamma Agah Sherwani, I had family relationship with one of his son, and I meet him when he was under house arrest.

Hamma Agah Sherwani explains to me how Barzani family took over their lives. He said the families were very poor, we helped them financially. In time they become rich and establish military forces from Sufi members. They can marry any beautiful girls but they do not want others to marry their daughters. His problem started when one of Mullah Mustafa’s daughters falls in love with Hamma Agah Sherwani’s son. That adventure landed them massacre by Massoud Barzani; he killed most of their males. After many years he pay their children amount of money for their father loses. The Barzani Sheiks have cousins to marry each others generations from generations. They think of themselves to be holy or untouchable people in Kurdistan. They think of themselves to be above the people in Kurdistan. Incidentally which bring me to other families in that region; they are called Deazai tribal chefs. One of their doctors invites me to his house and I meet his handicap daughter, he told me this is the product of our stupid system. The genetic pool is shrinking which will produce retard and handicap children according to the doctor.

The questions are do you think that Massoud Barzani are retard mentally or not? If it is not the why he is doing this to his own family and Kurdish people. Mullah Mustafa Barzani had few sons. Among his son he picks up two of them by name of Massoud and Idris Barzani to lead the Kurdish people. The older ones defected and joined Saddam Hussein Government with 8000 Barzani Sufi members because of that. Massoud and Idris bring in the Iranian military to Iraq which generated anger within Saddam Hussein,www.ekurd.netkilled 8000 Barzani including Massoud brothers. It is just like Mr. Jalal Talabani and his assistance Mr. Nawshirwan Mustafa brings in Iranian forces in purpose through the Jaff regions so giving Saddam Hussein a chance to kill Jaff people because both man above has a hatred toward Jaff people and they are not considering Jaff people to be human being. They are calling this policy anti tribalism. They do not understand that tribes are human being too.

Today in Kurdistan with the help of US Forces both Barzani and Talabani family are controlling the region. Large numbers of Kurds in that region are migrating to Europe. Many of them are drowning in Sea between Turkey and Greek including my own sister with her baby girl and with large group of Kurds. The live is harder for the people under Barzani and Talabani than Saddam Hussein.
The questions are why Mullah Mustafa picks this half Barzani to replace him. He did know how Zebari aga is. Today the people Mullah Mustafa suppose fight for them to be free are suffering in the hand of his half Zebari children and grandchildren; including those who are suffering are the sons of Sheik Abdul Salam Barzani and other members of his own family. Is Mullah Mustafa Barzani made a mistake by picking his half Zebari son to replace him or not?

In conclusions only Barzani Sheik family members and Kurdish people will know the answer. They do need to speak out now before it is too late, otherwise we will have Zebari Massoud as King of the regions. He is in process to build us system like Saudi Arabia family rule. He has to be stopped now.


A Region and a Superpower: A Special Relationship: Blog - By Qubad Talabani


Hamma Mirwaisi, is the author of the forthcoming book, "Enemies with the Same DNA". Born in Iraqi, Kurdistan, he is a US citizen; he currently resides in the United States; is an electrical engineer by trade; he spent the early years of his life participating in the struggle for the freedom of Kurd from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. Mirwaisi is a regular contributing writer for You may reach the author via email at: hmirwaisi (at) Hamma Mirwaisi. Homepage

Hamma Mirwaisi a contributing writer for

The views expressed are the author's alone.

Copyright © 2010, Hamma Mirwaisi. All rights reserved.

March 1, 1979

WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.,— After a long battle with lung cancer, the most prominent Kurdish national leader, Mulla Mustafa Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), died on Thursday, March 1, 1979, in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC at age of 75.

He was buried in Iranian Kurdistan in Oshnavieh after his body was flown back from the United States.

Millions of Kurds and others mourned him. His memory will remain alive in the hearts of all Kurds who support the aims he struggled for all his life. He will remain a towering figure in the history of the Kurdish people. He remains the inspiration and ideal for today's Kurdish youth who are fired by the spirit, tenacity and resilience of the legend that never wavered in his commitment to the Kurdish struggle for Peace, Freedom and Democracy.

In October, 1993, Barzani's remains were brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in his hometown of Barzan.

Mulla Mustafa Barzani

Mustafa Barzani (March 14, 1903 – March 1, 1979) also known as Mullah Mustafa was a Kurdish nationalist leader, and the most prominent political figure in modern Kurdish politics. In 1946, he was chosen as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to lead the Kurdish revolution against Iraqi regimes. Barzani was the primary political and military leader of the Kurdish revolution until his death in March 1979. He led campaigns of armed struggle against both the Iraqi and Iranian governments.

Early life

Mustafa Barzani was born in 1903 in Barzan, a village in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, (then part of the Ottoman Empire). Following an insurrection launched by his tribe, he was moved along with his mother and the rest of his family into jail, when Barzani was only at the age of 5 years. His father, grandfather, and a brother were later executed by the Ottoman authorities for other insurrections. At an early age he joined other tribal fighters in aiding Sheikh Barzinji's revolt against the British in Iraq.

In 1931 he followed his older brother, the Barzani chieftain Sheikh Ahmed Barzani, who led an insurrection against Baghdad's attempts to break up tribal power in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. The insurrection began when Sheikh Ahmed Barzani had entered into a feud with a neighboring tribal chieftain in Baradost after the latter attacked Sheikh Ahmed for heresy, prompting Iraq to intervene as they had intended to check the Barzani's tribe before then. Iraq received help from their British allies, who engaged in aerial warfare against territories in rebellion. The aerial bombardments led to widespread damage and setbacks, leading Sheikh Ahmad to surrender to Turkish forces on the then-contested border with Turkey in June 1932, while Mustafa Barzani and a brother Muhammad Sadiq, continued fighting for another year. On the advice of Sheikh Ahmad, Mustafa Barzani surrendered to Iraq.

Mustafa Barzani was kept under surveillance until 1943, when he again broke free from his exile in Sulêmanî [Sulaimaniyah] as Iraq underwent the effects of World War II. Baghdad again utilized tribal rivalries to defeat Barzani, sending him, Sheikh Ahmad, and about three thousand followers fleeing across the border to Iran, entering Oshnaviyeh in October 1945, where Kurdish nationalists under the guidance of the Soviet Union were establishing a new Kurdish state. Despite differences between Qazi Muhammad and Mustafa Barzani, the arrival of Barzani's forces gave a boost to the ability of the nationalists to assert control over the region.

The Republic of Mahabad

In December 1945 the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was declared by Qazi Muhammad the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran in Mahabad (northwestern Iran) which was under Soviet military control. Barzani was appointed as the Minister of Defense and commander of the Kurdish army in the Republic of Mahabad. As Iranian forces began to engage the forces of the Republic of Mahabad, Barzani quickly proved his reputation as a capable commander with his forces inflicting defeats on the Iranian divisions, and was one of the few who did not surrender or defect to the advancing Iranian forces.

In May 1946 the Soviet troops were withdrawn from Iran and all support for the Republic of Mahabad was cut, in accordance with the Yalta Agreement. In December of that year Mahabad was finally overrun by Iranian troops which was followed with harsh punishments for those involved; the president of the Republic Qazi Muhammad was hanged in public in the "Çuar Çira" square in Mahabad city along with his brother and a cousin, and a number of libraries containing Kurdish texts were burned.

Exile in the Soviet Union

Barzani and his followers arrived in the Armenian SSR and were put in a camp near Nakhchevan. After appealing to the Soviet Union to help them, Barzani and his followers were transferred to the Azerbaijan SSR, kept in camps near and around Baku. Barzani met with Azerbaijan Communist Party officials, who under orders from Moscow were told to help the Kurds.

In November 1947, Barzani met for the first time Mir Jafar Baghirov, the First Secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party, to discuss what the Kurds could do in the Soviet Union. Barzani's followers were organized into a military regiment and received training in military tactics and politics, as well as education to learn to read and write Kurdish.

On January 19, 1948, a conference was held gathering Kurds from Iraq and Iran in Baku, where Barzani outlined a plan for the Kurdish movement. This prompted Iran to again demand that the Soviet Union extradite Barzani and his followers to Iran to stand trial, which the Soviet Union rejected. Barzani however fast ran into problems with Baghirov due to differences and stances towards the Kurdish movement. As Baghirov was connected to Lavrentiy Beria, this gave Baghriov a lot of power in regional affairs, leading to Barzani requesting his followers be transferred out of Azerbaijan fearing Baghirov would act against them.

Barzani and the others were transferred to the Uzbek SSR in August 1948, but Baghriov's dipsutes with Barzani was not forgotten. Despite assurances from the both the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan Usman Yusupov, Baghirov's rivalry with Barzani spilled over into Uzbekistan and resulted in Barzani himself and much of his followers to be separate and spread across the country to do hard labor. For the following three years, Barzani was separated from his followers, prompting them to engage in sit-ins and strikes demanding they be reunited and their cause recognized.

Barzani sent numerous letters to Moscow, addressing them to Joseph Stalin himself, requesting that he and his followers be treated better and reunited. Only one of these letters reached the Kremlin and shortly afterwards on March 1951, Soviet officials began investigations to address the concerns of Barzani and his followers. The committee found that Barzani and his followers were unfairly treated, and on August 1951 the Soviet government reunited Barzani and the other Kurds, giving Mustafa Barzani a residence in Taskhent while the rest were given homes in a small community outside of Tashkent. All of them were provided with jobs, education, training, and social services that was given to other Soviet citizens.

Barzani would later meet with Soviet figures like Georgy Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev in May 1953 after the death of Stalin to ensure that the Soviets would continue helping him and his followers. Shortly afterwards, Soviet officials moved Barzani to a residence in Moscow and enrolled him in the Party Higher School.

Rumors also spread that Barzani was given a rank in the Red Army, which appears to have been false. Recounting the story years later to Yevgeny Primakov, Barzani recalled that he had bought a uniform at a Voentorg (military supplies) store while in Tashkent in 1951, and took a picture of himself wearing it. This picture somehow fell into the hands of British intelligence, which was the source of rumors of Barzani having been inducted as a member of the Soviet Red Army.

During his time in exile, the Kurdish Democratic Party was founded in Iraq, holding its first Congress on August 16, 1946, in Baghdad, electing Mustafa Barzani as its president. The party would later rename itself to the Kurdistan Democratic Party in January 1953 during its Third Congress.

Iraq and revolutions

Mustafa Barzani, following his return to Iraq in 1958, would engage in numerous independence struggles against Baghdad, often seeking and gaining support from the KGB, CIA, Mossad, MI6, and SAVAK, as well as support from Syria and Jordan depending on which country was opposed to the government in Baghdad at the time, taking advantage of the complexities of the Cold War in the Middle-East.

Return from exile and Qasim

Following the Republican coup against the Hashemite monarchy, Barzani was invited to return to Iraq by the new prime minister Abdul Karim Qasim. On October 1958, Barzani and his followers returned from the Soviet Union, and Barzani quickly established warm ties with Qasim. Qasim hoped to use Barzani as a potential ally in the power struggles in Iraq, as Qasim faced considerable resistance from more nationalist minded Arab officers and intellectuals in the country. Mustafa Barzani faced similar challenges within the KDP, with divisions rising over land reform, political position, alliances with other parties in Iraq such as the Iraqi Communist Party. Barzani quickly asserted control over the KDP, ousting the General-Secretary Ibrahim Ahmad and replacing him with the pro-Communist Hamza Abdullah in January 1959 and cementing ties with the ICP.

Along with the Communists, Barzani and the KDP sided with Qasim during an uprising of Ba'athists and other Arab Nationalists in Mosul in March 1959, entering into the city to fight off the insurrection. Following a riot instigated by leftists in Kirkuk in July 1959, Qasim denounced the ICP and Barzani followed suit, seeing the ICP as a rival in northern Iraq. Barzani severed ties with the party and restored Ibrahim Ahmad to his original position and elevated Jalal Talabani to the politburo during the KDP's fourth Congress in October 1959, ending the KDP's cooperation with the ICP. While welcoming towards the break with the ICP, Ahmad however still held suspicions of Barzani and his policy for the party and remained critical of his leadership.

Qasim in time became suspicious of Barzani, worried that his increasing power in Iraqi Kurdistan could allow him to become a potential source of opposition to his power in Iraq and possibly where foreign intelligence could instigate instability in Iraq. Qasim began to capitalize on tribal divisions in the Kurdish region, in particular finding those with long-time rivalries with the Barzani's such as the Zebari's and the Harki, creating tribal disputes in the autumn of 1960. Other figures within the KDP such as Ahmad and Talabani began to voice more opposition to Qasim through party publications, displeased with the lack of progress towards any autonomy for the Kurds. Qasim severed the government stipend and privileges to Barzani by early 1961, and for much of the year tensions between Barzani and Qasim grew. Qasim suspected Barzani of being a potential avenue for the British to frustrate his take over of Kuwait and increased arms to pro-government tribes to keep Barzani from becoming any stronger. On September 11, 1961, Iraqi planes began bombardments on the Kurdish region following an ambush on a military convoy, and on September 24 Qasim ordered the closure of KDP. The following December, Barzani and the KDP severed its agreements with Baghdad and entered into hostilities with the government.

Barzani attempted to gain support from the United States, alienating many Iraqi progressives and the ICP who felt that such a move was a betrayal for everything the KDP stood for. Barzani however managed to lead the peshmerga effectively, inflicting casualties on the military to the point that Qasim offered peace twice in November 1961 and in March 1962, both times rejected by Barzani who raised autonomy requests. Such demands were unfeasible for Qasim who knew that such a concession would damage his image, and the military campaign waged on against Barzani's rebellion.

Through the rest of 1962, Barzani's campaign proved to cause Qasim's position in Baghdad to become increasingly unstable, and he directed the KDP into talks with the Ba'athists and Nasserists, the two factions most likely to succeed Qasim.

Military government

On February 8, 1963, a military coup took place which overthrew and executed Qasim. The Nasserist Colonel Abdul Salam Arif become president of Iraq and the Ba'athist General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr become prime minister. The latter resulted in a Ba'athist domination in the government, forming the National Council of the Revolutionary Command.

Not forgetting Barzani's role in quelling the insurrection in Mosul back in 1959, as well as Barzani's contacts with foreign intelligence, the new government was suspicious towards Barzani. Mustafa Barzani and the government would attempt ineffective negotiations, and after Barzani's autonomy request which included much of Iraq's oil fields around Kirkuk and Mosul, the government moved against the KDP in northern Iraq. The campaign faced difficulties though, and allowed for President Arif's power grab in November 1963, ousting the Ba'athists from the national government.

President Arif quickly offered Barzani a truce, which he accepted. A subsequent agreement between Barzani and Arif would end hostilities between the government and the Kurds, though autonomy was not included. By this point Barzani turned his attention towards asserting his leadership over the KDP, due to the opposition from various factions, namely the one led by Talabani and Ahmad. Soon, the political divisions evolved into one that saw Barzani leading tribal and conservative elements of Kurdish society on one end with Talabani and Ahmad leading progressive minded intellectual Kurds on the other. Barzani however benefited from his agreement with Arif, which secured him funds and arms from Baghdad to assert his position.

During the sixth congress of the KDP in Qala Dizeh on July 1964, Barzani moved against Talabani and Ahmad, tasking his son Idris with ejecting Talabani, Ahmad, and their supporters from the congress. The move was successful and saw Barzani's opposition flee into Iran, allowing him uncontested control of the KDP.

With his power secure in the KDP, Barzani raised the demand for autonomy to President Arif, quickly souring relations between the two. On March 1965, hostilities began between Barzani and Baghdad, leading to a massive military operation in northern Iraq that saw nearly 100,000 soldiers deployed by Iraq to fight Barzani and the Peshmerga, as well as other Kurdish factions such as the Talabani-Ahmad faction which had returned to Iraq. The operation was inconclusive, with the government unable to make any significant gains against Barzani and his forces, which were receiving supplies through the Iranian border. The war was further complicated by the winter, which played into the Peshmerga's advantage. The government again utilized divisions among the Kurds in the region, and had begun supporting the Talabani-Ahmad faction of the KDP who entered into hostilities with Barzani and his supporters. Before a major operation that was to take place in March against Barzani's headquarters near the border of Iran, President Arif died in a helicopter crash on April 13, 1966.

The death of Arif prompted a power struggle in Baghdad which gave Barzani time to reorganize, but operations resumed once more by the summer once Arif's brother, Abdul Rahman Arif became president and vowed to continue the war. The civilian prime minister Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz saw the futility of the military operation and instead offered Barzani an offer of peace, which incorporated a number of demands of the KDP, forming the 'Bazzaz Declaration'. Bazzaz was however forced to resign from his position in August 1966, dashing any hope for the Bazzaz Declaration to be implemented at the time.

President Arif would however recognize the troubles the war was bringing, and seeking to cement his own position in Iraq decided to visit Barzani that fall. Barzani accepted Arif's offer of a truce, recognizing the toll the war had taken on the Kurdish people by that point. During the sixth congress of the KDP held in November that year, the KDP decided to accept the terms of the Bazzazz Declaration but indicated that it would still push for autonomy.
Barzani continued to consolidate his power in Iraqi Kurdistan, which had mostly fallen out of control from Baghdad by that point. His increasing position in the region would plague Baghdad, tying up much of its forces during the Six Day War.

Ba'ath Coup of 1968 and 1970 peace accord

In July 1968 the Ba'ath Party, supported by the army, overthrew the Arif government and assumed control of Iraq, returning Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr back to power. The Ba'ath realized the toll the military operations in Iraq were taking and signaled its willingness to settle the Kurdish issue peacefully. The Ba'ath initially hoped to seek an agreement with the Talabani-Ahmad faction to bypass Barzani, prompting Barzani to enter into hostilities with the government again, shelling Kirkuk in March 1969. Barzani's ability to secure aid from Iran caused trouble for the new Ba'ath government, which saw that it would prevent any conclusive victory militarily.

By May 1969 the government indicated its willingness to negotiate with Barzani, culminating in formal negotiations by December that year. Barzani demanded that the Ba'ath sever ties with pro-government Kurds and the Ahmad-Talabani faction, and recognize him as the sole power within the KDP, as well as terms of autonomy was also discussed. With Dr. Mahmud Othman conducting negotiations on behalf of the KDP, and Saddam Hussein on behalf of the government, the final agreement was reached on March 11, 1970. The final terms of the agreement recognized the Kurdish people and considered Kurdish language a second official language of the republic with Arabic, along with autonomy in northern Iraq excluding Kirkuk, Khanaqin and other Kurdish cities, in exchange of full control of Iraqi army over Kurdistan.

Collapse of the peace accord

The government began reconstruction in northern Iraq and work towards creating an autonomous region, appointed five Kurdish men to junior-level ministries in the government, incorporating the Kurds along with the ICP into the National Front and provided Barzani with a stipend to manage the KDP. Ibrahim Ahmad and Jalal Talabani also reunified with the KDP However relations quickly began to deteriorate as Barzani accused Iraq of continuing Arabification to decrease Kurdish standings in contested cities such as Kirkuk and in not being committed to a genuine autonomous zone. An assassination attempt took place against Barzani on September 1971 when Barzani received religious officials in his headquarters. The clerics had thought they were carrying suitcases with recording devices for the benefit of Baghdad, but had instead been wired with explosives. The explosion did not kill Barzani but killed others participating in the meeting, and in the confusion Peshmerga guards rushed in and killed the clerics. The government drivers who drove the clerics tried to salvage the assassination and tossed a grenade, killing a Peshmerga and wounding twelve, but missing Barzani, before they themselves were shot and killed. Despite being unable to capture any of the conspirators for questioning, Barzani would maintain that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack.

With his perception of the Ba'ath soured, Barzani refused to close the border of Iran and continued receiving arms and supplies from Iran, which increased following the Soviet-Iraqi Treaty of Friendship in April 1972 once the United States was concerned about Iraq entering into the Soviet sphere like Syria. Israel also increased support to Barzani hoping to frustrate the Ba'ath in Iraq. The moves would bolster Barzani and his forces, but would alienate many figures within the KDP as well as leftists sympathetic to the Kurdish cause within Iraq. Among the defectors from the KDP was Barzani's own son Ubeydullah who defected from the movement and preferred to cooperate with the regime in Baghdad. Through much of 1973, Barzani began to rebuild and reorganize the Peshmerga in anticipation of another conflict with Baghdad.

On March 11, 1974, the Ba'ath government passed the autonomy law which it presented to Barzani for approval. With Kirkuk not included and his faith in the Ba'ath for a genuine autonomy low, Barzani rejected the agreement. Joining his son Ubeydullah, a number of disillusioned members of the KDP, angered with Barzani's opening towards the United States, Israel, and Iran and the perceived betrayal of KDP's socialist origins, defected to Baghdad.

Renewed hostilities and defeat

The end of supplies from Iran spelled the end for Barzani's insurrection, which could not resist the onslaught of the better equipped Iraqi army without aid. On March 23, just a few days after the initial Algiers Agreement, Barzani and nearly a 100,000 followers left Iraq for Iran, ending the insurrection against Iraq, and allowing the Ba'ath Party to implement its assimilation policies towards the Kurds. Ahmad and Talabani, along with their supporters, would go to Syria and found the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in June 1975, criticizing Barzani for what they described as poor leadership based on tribalism.

Exile and death

Barzani along with his family were settled near the capital of Iran in Tehran in Karaj. The KDP went through a chaotic period as it attempted to reorganize itself in face of the defeat at the hands of the Ba'ath in Iraq. Barzani and his aides continued trying to get support from the United States, seeing that the Soviet Union had settled for amicable relations with the new government in Iraq. The United States had only shown that it saw the Kurds as a tool, and had no interest in advancing its nationalist goals as Barzani would soon realize. The findings of the Pike Commission would confirm this, showing the CIA was only interested in the Kurds to wear down Iraq but had no intention of ever following through with Barzani's ambitions. Mustafa Barzani would live long enough to see the overthrow of the Shah, the departure of Henry Kissinger following Gerald Ford's defeat in the 1976 US Presidential Elections, and the death of Algerian President Houari Boumediene, three figures who had affected his movement negatively. Seeking to treat a lung cancer, Barzani went to the United States, and died on March 1, 1979, in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. He was buried in Iranian Kurdistan in Oshnavieh after his body was flown back from the United States.

In October, 1993, Barzani's remains were brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in his hometown of Barzan.


His son, Massoud Barzani, is the current leader of the KDP and was re-elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region with 66% of the popular vote in July 2009. A grandson, Nechirvan Barzani, the son of Idris Barzani was the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan. Mustafa Barzani holds a high position among Kurdish nationalists, mostly among those in the KDP.

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March 5, 2012

We can say that the contemporary Kurdish movement came out from the "Jamdani" (head cover worn by Kurdish men) of Mulla Mustafa al-Barzani in the history of the contemporary Iraqi state.

If this statement was applied to the Kurdish national liberation movement in Iraq, then it is not far off from the rest of Kurdistan because of the prominent role of Barzani in leadership and the position it occupied in the general Kurdish nation. He was able, by his qualifications, location, wisdom and foresight, to achieve a lot for the Kurdish people and to raise their issue in various fields and forums, especially after the revolution of September 11, 1961 in Iraqi Kurdistan. This was despite the complex conditions and foreign interventions and international conflicts during the Cold War period, particularly in the absence of the Kurdish issue from the international arena since the twenties of last century. And after Lozan from 1923 until 1991 after the issuance of resolution no. 688 of the UN Security Council on April 5 related to respecting the human rights in Iraq and stopping the repression that the areas of the Kurdish region were subjected to and the rest of Iraq considering it a threat for international peace and security.

Many elements of power were found in Barzani's personality that are rarely found in one person. These elements are objective and subjective. He is a descendant of the famous Barzani family which follows the Naqshbandi way and has significant religious, financial, and moral powers. In addition the Naqshbandi are a fighting and courageous family which contributed to many movements and uprisings against the Ottoman ruling and after it when Iraq became subjected to the British influence and destroying Barzani's area 17 times and being subjected to sabotage and bombing several times in one century wasn't done for nothing. Barzani grew up in harsh conditions. When he was three years old he was imprisoned with his mother in Mosul prison and his brother Abdul Salam was executed. The boy grew up in the conditions of resistance and facing challenges for self defense and to defend the rights of the Kurds, both through his participation in the revolution of Kurdistan Turkey 1917-1919 or the revolution of Sheikh Mahmood al-Hafid in Sulaimaniya in 1919, where he implemented the instructions of his elder brother Sheikh Ahmed Barzani.

In the thirties he participated in the preparation, implementation and leadership for the Barzan movement and in mid-1936 he was arrested in Mosul. He was transferred with Sheikh Ahmed Barzani and a large number of Barzani families to Baghdad and other Iraqi cities where they were forced to stay. This procedure was always followed by the successive governments against the Kurds, where they were displaced and deported to other areas under the pretext of security conditions.

During World War II (1943) when he arrived to the "Henw" village in Iran, in preparation to move to Barzan to lead the Barzan movement between 1943-1945, Barzani was experienced in military leadership and at the same time acquired political skills and his leadership qualifications contributed to the establishment of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in 1946. Barzani played his part in the Kurdish-Iranian Mahabad Republic with judge Mohammed who was executed in 1947, at which point Barzani was forced to to leave Kurdistan where he sought political asylum in the previous Soviet Union along with a number of his supporters. He lived in exile for 12 years.

After the July 14 revolution in 1958 he was able to return to Iraq on October 6, 1958 where he was eagerly hosted in the presence of the revolution government of the leader Abdul Karim Qasim. He was on his way back when he met with the Egyptian leader Jamal Abdul Nasser in Cairo to confirm the importance and necessity of Arab-Kurdish brotherhood. He also chose the port of Basra as a station to head to Baghdad and then to Kurdistan.

It is ironic to note that Barzani was sentenced to death in absentia in 1943 in both Iraq and Iran and the two governments allocated 50,000 dinars as a reward for those who arrested him or provided information about him. The Turkish government arrested earlier the Sheikh Ahmed Barzani and handed him

over to the Iraqi government in 1933. This reflects the national dimension of his movement on the one hand and the role of geopolitics in ignoring the Kurdish people and their rights on the other hand. It also reflects security and government cooperation between the three governments, which made over the three quarters of a century or more in the policies of the three countries towards the Kurdish issue. In the nineties officials of Iraq, Iran and Syria used to meet periodically to discuss the Kurdish issue in Iraq linked to developments of the establishment of independent Kurdish country from the central government in Iraq. Barzani was able to combine closely between their strong defense and his unlimited faith in the case of his people and his nation and the justice of their cause. His ability to understand the distinct relationship with the Arab people gave him a prominent place not only as a Kurdish leader but also as a prominent Iraqi personality that played an important role especially in the three decades that followed the revolution of July 14, 1958 in Iraqi politics, where it was impossible to be ignored or to be excluded from any solution to the governing crisis in Iraq.

Therefore, the governments, "revolutions", and military coups took his opinion because he represented the Kurdish street, regardless of agreement or disagreement about his policies or his approach by other politicians and in subsequent assessments.

Barzani died in exile away from Kurdistan and the land that he loved, but according to his will his remains were returned to his homeland (Barzan) where he grew up. Barzani died on March 1, 1979 in the USA and was buried in the Henw Iranian town of Henw (near the border). His remains were received in an atmosphere of grief and sadness on October 16, 1993, and his friends and the Kurdish people started visiting his grave in the Barzan area where popular marches are organized on the anniversary of his death every year.

The writer of the lines witnessed on March 1, 2000 during his visit to the Kurdistan region to lecture graduate students at the University of Salahaddin (politics and law faculty) the flow of large numbers of citizens to Barzan from the Kurdistan region. The visit of the grave has become a popular tradition to express the relation of the Kurdish citizens to Barzani. Perhaps the Kurds wanted to express their adherence to the path chosen by Barzani and about the justice of his case.

Exceptional flexibility and realism

Barzani was an exceptional leader in every sense of the word, he was able to combine the determination and the spirit of resistance on the one hand and between flexibility and willingness for solutions on the other. And in addition to the spirit of pride and national pride he respected other people and nations and was humble and polite. Although he was flustered and rebellious in the battlefield, he was peaceful, tolerant and gentle, especially against the innocent and defenseless.

In a question to the brother Mr. Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region, to clarify and complete the picture, he said: "After the assassination attempt that targeted Barzani using bombed car that the security services, led by Nazim Kazar the director of public security at that time (1971) was accused of, we have the information and estimates to respond the same and the plan was successful and we informed Barzani and his face frowned and did not respond and when he prayed he said to us 'we do not respond to crimes with the same because this will affect the children, women and innocent people. I strongly warn you to ask you to stop thinking about these things'."

The arms were used in the Kurdish revolution for self defense and the revolution was not classified as "terrorism". Barzani considered these acts as cowardice and not resistance or self-defense. This made a character such as Kreisky, the Chancellor of Austria, describe the Kurdish revolution as "clean revolution" because it tried to move away as much as possible from the acts of sabotage or bombings, or acts of violence or assassinations of innocent citizens and its operations were limited to basic self-defense and attacks against military government bases in Kurdistan, especially the attacking ones.

The theme of Barzani was "Grant amnesty when you can" and on its basis he dealt with the "Johoush" and received some of them who left their positions and betrayed their people. He dealt with flexibility and responsibility towards them and showed understanding towards the pressures they were exposed to, not to mention the temptations and encouragement if they decided to break their association with the friendliness parties for the Kurdish people.

The Kurdish movement followed this aspect where after the revolution of March 1991 it controlled the provinces of Kurdistan and imprisoned large numbers of officers, soldiers and government officials and Baathists. But it dealt with them in a humanitarian way (although there are some exceptions) following the instructions of the "Kurdistan Front", especially Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Mam Jalal Talabani, secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, despite the bitterness that the Kurdish people suffered from especially when Halabja was under chemical bombing on March 16-17, 1988. Some 5,000 citizens were killed in addition to the Anfal operations that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of unarmed Kurdish citizens and the destruction of 4,500 villages during the Iraqi-Iranian war.

Lessons of the historical experience!

I can say that Barzani absorbed dynamically, and from his rich historical experience especially in recent years, the most important lessons of the Kurdish nationalist movement in its foreign relations, especially with regional and international powers. That appeared in what Kissinger the former Foreign Minister of the United States of America expressed about separating politics from morality, in particular by subjecting the interests of the Kurdish movement to the strategic interests of the US in the international relations and perhaps his was the base of the Turkish, Iranian and Israeli strategy in the region that tried to get benefit of the Kurdish issue in Iraq for their own interests.

Barzani revealed bitterly about this fact, and this is what can be concluded from his letters to the US administration, where no friendship with any enemy for the Arabs can be done with the Kurds, just as the Arabs cannot accept any enemy for the Kurds. Such an important and dangerous conclusion was one of the lessons of the setback in 1975 where the March 6 agreement was signed between the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and former President Saddam Hussein (representative at that time).

Barzani has realized more deeply and especially after the Bayan Convention on March 11, 1970 with the Iraqi government the need and importance to put the Kurdish issue in the right place within the Iraqi issue. The national democratic solution and Arab-Kurdish brotherhood is the main step in solving the Kurdish problem in the context of the governing problem in Iraq as a whole.

Barzani understood the interrelationships between the national issue and the issue of democracy, where we cannot talk about the rights of the Kurdish people in Iraq or other parts of Kurdistan without talking about democracy, because its absence has reduced the possibility of resolving the Kurdish issue and the recognition of the rights of the Kurdish people peacefully. And he said that the military solution is more likely to happen but it could not reach a reasonable and fair solution for his case but just made things worse.

This is why the slogan of the leftist national and democratic movement, including the Kurdistan Democratic Party, was, for many years, "democracy for Iraq and self governance for Kurdistan". It is the most realistic term at that stage about the overlap between the democratic solution to resolve the governance crisis in Iraq and the peaceful solution for the Kurdish cause.

Perhaps the enormity of the absence of democracy was also reflected in depriving the Kurdish people from exercising their legitimate rights in the expression about forming a political entity, as well as depriving it from their right of expression, association and political participation that are of the basic rights approved by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued on December 10, 1948 in addition to the two international covenants. The first covenant on civil and political rights and the second covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, issued by the public assembly of the United Nations in 1966 and have been in force since 1976. The convenants recognize the right of self determination.

The enormity of the absence of democracy was also embodied in the absence of the implementation of the Iraqi state for its essential duties, especially the full rights of citizenship and non-discrimination. The successive governments continued monopolizing power which led to a strong inclination to ignore the rights under the rule of totalitarian tyranny. This led to the gradual social denial of the Kurdish people of their legitimate rights, and basically their right of self-determination.

Perhaps blocking the right of political participation in the management of political affairs and holding sovereign positions has been one of the problems of the Iraqi state since its formation. This increases with the isolation of the Kurdish people. Experience has shown that the Kurdish issue can be solved without endorsing a constitutional pluralist parliamentary system. With the first experiment since the establishment of the Iraqi state in 1921 and the issuance of the Basic Law in 1925, the imbalance in the composition of the Iraqi state increased as did the neglect of the Kurdish national existence. Annexing the region to foreign allies increased its dependence, especially after the establishment of the Baghdad Pact (Sentu Pact - Central Treaty Ally) in 1955.

Kurdish issue from judicial approach

Despite the development that happened after the revolution of July 14, 1958 by approving the partnership between Arabs and Kurds in the Iraqi nation (Article III), which is considered the first constitutional text that recognizes the rights of the Kurdish people, the tensed situation and asking the Kurdish people to continue and develop its rights and taking the country towards autocracy led to the increasingly tensed situation and bombing of the Barzan area in 1961. The September revolution broke out in 1961, led by Barzani.

The convention of June 29, 1966 between the Government of Dr. Abdul Rahman al-Bazzaz and the leadership of Barzani as a long-term truce and the peace that emerged from it remained accompanied with caution and an atmosphere of mistrust and uncertainty.

The convention of March 11, 1970 meanwhile was the most important and most comprehensive and recognized the rights of the Kurdish people. It is

considered the best and deepest legal text obtained by the Kurdish people in its modern history since the establishment of civil rule in Iraq in 1921. The March 11 convention was at that time the excellent text for the countries of the region that suffer from the Kurdish problem, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria.

The March 11 statement put the right foundation for a reasonable peaceful political solution for the Kurdish issue and it was possibly developed and deepened on the basis of common understanding and interest away from military and violent solutions that achieved nothing except defeat and failure constantly. The Self-Governance Act of 1974 was formulated on its basis. The law is considered a significant development in the eye of the region's governments to the Kurdish issue despite the shortcomings and gaps that the law and government practices followed.

The indication of this development in the Kurdish issue legally and politically lay in the legislation of a new interim constitution for the country on July 16, 1970 that continued until the occupation of Iraq on April 9, 2003 and included important constitutional drafting although the lesson is not in texts but in practice. This is what was taken into consideration in the light of new texts for the law of State Administration for the interim period 2004, or the permanent constitution in 2005 and the previous experience had a major role in laying the foundations to give up violent and military methods to resolve the Kurdish issue. It is one of the lessons of the present and future.

Perhaps this was considered as a basis beginning from the constitutional rule which texts were developed in line with the needs and demands of the Kurdish people and its rights that were developed by the parliament of Kurdistan in 1992 by issuing the federal union law.

The researcher notes that the presence of a text that considers the Iraqi people as two main Arab and Kurdish nationalities, as stated in Article five, is an important issue in the constitutional development for the Kurdish issue where the mentioned issue included two texts which have significant importance that appeared for the first time in Iraqi legislation, where it stated on the Kurdish nationalism and Kurdish people. Article VII of the Interim Constitution for the year 1970 (paragraph B) assured that the Kurdish language is an official language along with the Arabic in the Kurdish region, in accordance with the statement of March 11 which considered Kurdish as the education language in these areas, and decided to observe the principle of efficiency and the proportion of population in holding important positions such as ministries and the army the vice president must be Kurdish.

Unfortunately things went off on the other direction where fighting began and took away all the possibilities of understanding and peaceful resolution because of the exclusivity approach on one hand and the overlaps and external pressures on the other hand for regional and international powers, especially Iran. After the Algiers Convention in 1975 the government used organized violence where it carried out collective punishment and forced displacement in an attempt to change the population structure and national presence.

Another lesson that Barzani inspired from his own experience, especially after the Convention of March 6, 1975 is that any solution no matter how positive it was and meets, to certain limits, the demands and rights of the Kurdish people, will remain incomplete and vulnerable for exclusion in the absence of constitutional and democratic institutions, because it is possible to be reversed and aborted, especially without supervision and accountability.

Any solution must be supported with the popular will in a way that it can express itself in order to be a firm and consistent solution and not only a temporary solution. This will not be achieved except in a peaceful and normal atmosphere and it will not be a strategic solution or a political deal with this political group or that party because this will allow its denial as happened with the previous experiences. Perhaps such a strategic solution requires recognition of the right to self- determination in order not to consider this right as a grant or gift, but rather as recognition of a painful situation which absence caused suffering for Kurdish people.

Ambiguous understanding of federalism

If the Kurdish parliament (National Council for Iraqi Kurdistan) chose federalism on October 1992, the issue was a result and a recognition of the fact of the Kurdistan region in the development of Iraq's interim or permanent constitution despite the known interventions and interactions that remained still so far. This was regardless of the changing of parties for their attitudes and positions towards federalism where those who were against it since a while are now supporting it, while those who supported it before are now expressing reservations about it. The change of the positions is related to the closeness to the authority and governance. I have no doubt, through my reading for the international federal system applied in about 25 countries and followed by about 40 percent of the world, what is stated in the Iraqi constitution raises practical disputes that will stay in place and be a source of rivalry and differences. My estimation is that the voluntary unity of the Iraqi state cannot be kept without strengthening the Arab relationship and Kurdish brotherhood in its legal form, and on the basis of common humanitarian and mutual understanding.

Federalism in my point of view as an Arab is an assurance about the affiliation of the Kurd to the Iraqi state. It is a categorical denial for separation and division, but at the same time it is an attempt to re-strengthen the Arab-Kurdish relationships and identify the responsibility between the central (federal) government and the Kurdish region (Kurdistan), in a way that provides for the Kurd future guarantees and power that comply with the complexities of the Kurdish problem taking advantage of the former autonomy experience that reached to a blocked end and the effects of long-term era of persecution.

I have already touched the reality of the Kurdish position through my several meetings and friendship with the elite of intellectual and cultural Kurdish leaders. The historic Kurdish leaders and the second generation assure with realism and foresight and deep understanding for the geo-political situation and international relations, on the importance of bringing a constitutional pluralistic federal regime to the democratic united Iraq, but such an issue will be subjected without doubt to the internal political developments along with the regional and international situation and the degree of success of the Iraqi state in building citizenship based on equality in which the components agree according to real national partnership that distribute powers and wealth.

If such an opportunity become available it must be reconstructed on correct basis and solve the problems that hinder it through dialogue and mutual human understanding both in terms of Article 140 or the issue of Kirkuk or other issues that should be resolved on the basis of respect for human rights and the will of the population, and without any compulsion taking into consideration the common struggle of the Arabs and the Kurds and other Iraqi factions and their fair and legitimate rights.

I believe that the Kurds are interested more than others to implement the projects of democratic change that must take into account the recognition of their rights and in the forefront the right of self-determination and respect their choices with relationship with their Arab brothers whether it was federalism or other.

Such a solution will eliminate the fears and justifications of "separation" or "division" or "fragmentation" or "Balkana", "Lebanonization" or Afghanization", especially by declaring the common desire to reunify the Iraqi state in a new legal way and get the confidence of citizens. Also on the basis of their free will and in accordance with the right to self-determination, leading to reducing the tendencies of superiority and national chauvinism on the one hand as well as the isolationism and narrow tendencies on the other. There is no doubt that such a solution will strengthen the unity of the Iraqi state within the framework of a federation based on Arabs and Kurds and not federalism based on sectarianism that will raise new problems against Iraqi unity.

Arab-Kurdish dialogue

The recognition of the right to self-determination is approving a painful situation that the Kurdish people suffered from after witnessing genocide, displacement and attempts to deprive them from identity and attempts to cancel citizenship and change the composition of the population and the demographic character.

I believe that the recognition of the right of self-determination while we are talking about the biography of Barzani, that I dedicate my life to, is not a gift or grant from any one or group (rulers or opposition), as I pointed out to that in the research that I presented at the Arab-Kurdish dialogue seminar in Cairo in

1998, and was presented earlier in the conference that I had the honor to organize in London in 1992 about the Arab-Kurdish dialogue forum in the context of the Arab Organization for Human Rights that I presided. It is an expression about the contemporary civilized thinking especially that today's world began approving for nations and nationalities, including the small nations and nationalities and even the tribes emerging from the forest about their right to determine their fate and their flag was raised in international and diplomatic forums including the United Nations. This is approved by the laws and international rules and principles of the Declaration of Human Rights and International Justice Rules.

With Barzani in Qalalah!

I stop now 33 years after the death of Barzani and I met the great Kurdish leader in his headquarter in Qalalah 42 years ago. I visited him heading a delegation to congratulate him about the March 11 convention in 1970, complaining at the same time about the government excesses that included leftist, liberal, and national currents and personalities. He condemned terrorism and promised of doing what he could to stop it, expressing in his own way about the Arab-Kurdish brotherhood. He pointed out that the Kurdish part cannot recover as long as the Arab part is unstable.

Barzani did not ignore the rules of diplomacy and political protocol when he sent a message condemning terrorism after weeks of the March 11 convention which was like wildfire, as they say, but he was very sensitive towards it thus prompting him to criticize the government publicly warning of the consequences of following this road.

The initiative of Barzani to send a letter of solidarity had a main impact on the internal and external level and Mr. Saleh al-Yousfi (editor in chief of the Fraternity (Taakhi) newspaper) was asked to write a message and in the presence of Mr. Ali Abdullah and Mr. Ali al-Sinjari and Dr. Mahmoud Othman and Professor Francois Hariri.

The letter was the first warning sign and clear sign against the repressive practices, as the convention of March 11 was not possible to be applied in light of political deterioration and reluctance in democratic reforms, which is a safety valve to implement the demands of the Kurdish people.

Barzani promised in his letter of doing what he could to stop the abuses and terrorism concluding it by the statement of the holy Quran "Allah does not burden any soul beyond its power".

In order for his instructions to be followed, he tried to make a special relation with the professor Sami Abdul Rahman (minister of state at the time) to follow up the issue through the Fraternity newspaper through Section V of the party in Baghdad. The officials received from me information about the campaign carried out by government authorities against a number of leftists and nationalists, in addition to some Palestinian organizations at that time and in extreme strict and sensitive situations.

Iraqi love with Kurdish identity

Barzani had the Iraqi identity of Kurdish affiliation, he had strong features. He had the ability to capture the essential things, despite the many attractions and the international and regional pressures. He had all the needs of leadership: courage, the ability to resolve issues, decision-making, initiative, flexibility and realism. And above all sincerity and loyalty to the Kurdish people and their case. All this was in a frame of hardness and high sensitivity to injustice and tyranny.

Here I recall the poem of the great poet Al- Jawahiri, which he presented in 1964 at the conference of the Association of Kurdish Students in Munich:

"My heart is given to Kurdistan as well as my mouth and destitute is graciously given in it."

The poem also said:

"Pass by the holy mountain and its people and you know who they are,

On behalf of the Chosen Prophet about a nation that is divided in his life after disputes,

Cold features avoided by the eagles and enemies"

Experiment to study!

And as an Arabic friend, researcher and specialist I say in conclusion that the historic experience of Barzani must be studied within the circumstances of the phase in which he lived and sessions and workshops must be held based on critical spirit to shed light on the his political, military and social opinions and international relations, and private experiences. The period that was not estimated so far was his experience of the Republic of Mahabad setback between 1946 an 1947 and the execution of Judge Mohammed. Also the Iranian-American complicity when he exercised the role of leadership, guidance and direct supervision between 1961 and 1975 and beyond.

This task needs staff and specialists to collect this heritage and deliver to the current generation and future generations to get benefit from and get inspired from the lessons for the interests of the Kurdish people and Kurdish nation, which would contribute to strengthening its struggle for its rights and mainly its right in self-determination and establishing its own entity that meets its aspirations and regulates its relations with its neighbors and the friendly peoples on the basis of partnership, equity, equality, participation and interests in a way that promotes peaceful and democratic development and human rights in Kurdistan as a whole and in all parts of the country.

From this point, the dialogue between the nations of the region, especially the Arab, Turkish, Persian and Kurdish nations, is very necessary to achieve regional security as without equal and peaceful relations based on common interests the region cannot enjoy peace and security and development. This will not come to fruition without close relations between the people of these nations and their right to self-determination.

If the Arab nation has more than a state and entity and has the right to be united and the Turkish nation has a state and the Persian nation has a state, then the Kurdish nation is the only deprived from its own state and as an Arab I feel pride and at the same I appreciate the right of the Kurdish nation to unite, because it remained distributed among the countries of the region: Turkey, Iran, Syria, and lacks its own entity But it was subjected under different names and justification for persecution, repression and historic denial of rights.

Without real democracy in the countries of the region the issue of Kurdish nationalism cannot be resolved and will not be recognized in addition to its right of self-determination without a democratic transition for the countries of the region. Dialogue, peace and common forgiveness will be the best ways to implement this issue.

Dr. Abdul Hussein Shaaban is an academic researcher and thinker

Mulla Mustafa al-Barzani (March 14, 1903-March 1, 1979) was a Kurdish nationalist leader, and one of the most prominent political figures in modern Kurdish politics.

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